Dark Edge Vol. #06 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Friday, March 03, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yu Aikawa
Translated by:Lindsey Johnston
Adapted by:

What They Say
The Nosferatu are torn between keeping Kurou alive or killing him. In an unprecedented turn of events, Tsuchiya and Matsudaira join together to kill Kurou, while Sato and Fukaya team up to save him. Taking advantage of the fact that most of Kurou's friends with the carrier ability have already forgotten about him, Tsuchiya uses them to fight against the mysterious student body created by Fukaya, while Sato brings out a powerful vampire called Red Angel to lure Tetsuzo into the coffin to replace Kurou. Matsudaira has something else in mind. He believes the end is near for the Nosferatu and entrusts his Evil Genes none other than ...Louie?!

The Review
The story finally seems to be back on track here with more zombie hunting action and scheming Nosferatu. It’s just a shame the packaging is so poor.

The cover artwork is the same as the original Japanese tankoubon release, with a red ink sketch of Louie and Matsudaria behind the dominant English logo. It is plain looking cover that will not grab the attentions of most casual book store browsers. The cover on my copy also appears to be peeling, with the laminate finish coming off in spots, looking very cheap. The spine is not as stiff as it has been with previous volumes.

The print reproduction is still quite poor, with blotchy tones and blurry lines. It seems as if the print was made at a very low resolution. Chapter inserts have the same character profiles along with some “terminology” for the world of Dark Edge that offers a little bit more information this time around.

The character designs feature a lot of the long, lanky arms and legs with wide bodies and an abundance of hair. The boys are drawn up in the bishounen style while the girls are busty with waists that are thinner than their necks. Backgrounds continue to be decent, good detail or use of dark, solid tones which help enhance some scenes by increasing the tension with the closed-in perspectives.

SFX are translated with subs, using a small font and placed nicely next to the originals. I did not notice any errors with the translation this time, but the adaptation feels quite awkward at times. There were a few panels that I had to read over a couple times to try and understand the context of the conversations. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of the original text, but some proper adaptation could have possibly fixed this issue. There is an honorifics guide included at the back of the book, but oddly enough there are no honorifics used in the English script here.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
For the past volume and a half of Dark Edge, the story pace has come to a screeching halt with Kurou Takagi stuck inside of Nosferatu Matsudaira’s coffin. Finally, with this sixth installment, this story arc is coming to an end! Granted, it took the entire volume to get there, but the pace now picks, more revelations come to the surface, and the power struggle between the Nosferatu staff continues to be intriguing and amusing at the same time.

Inside of Kurou is the perfect Nosferatu seed, a special gene trait that has the potential to make him the new King of the Nosferatu. With the Nosferatu weakening, a new king would allow for a new strain of evil genes to be passed on to other humans without the fear of carriers--those who are resistant to the evil genes. With such great potential inside of Kurou, it is no wonder that the Nosferatu disagree amongst themselves about just how useful Kurou is to the future of their kind. While Kurou is stuck in the coffin, Matsudaira, Tsuchiya, and Satou will each plot against each other to get what they want.

It is the power struggle between these three Nosferatu that become the major focus and source of entertainment in this volume. There are still the carriers doing battle against the new breed of zombies created by Nurse Fukaya, but it is the mystery and twists of the Nosferatu that steal the show here. Matsudaira wants nothing to do with a new king, bringing in Tsuchiya knowing he wants Kurou dead in order to release the seal that is on his back. However, Satou wants Kurou to survive in order to bring strength back to the Nosferatu and his parent, Red Angel, and he will go to great lengths to get Kurou out of that coffin; lengths that might just include the putting lives of some of the students in jeopardy.

After feeling frustrated with the previous volume, Dark Edge feels like it is getting back on track here with the end of the coffin story arc. There is a lot of fun zombie hunting action, mystery and twists surrounding the Nosferatu conspiring against each other, and a good mix of tounge-in-cheek humor from Yu Aikawa. Yes, Dark Edge can be incredibly corny at times, but the creator understands this and even pokes fun at herself with small comments in the panels.

I only wish DrMaster could get the production values righted on this title. The printing has been downright awful at times, with this volume lying somewhere in the middle. The cheap laminate cover doesn’t help matters either. Not sure what is going on with DrMaster, but it seems like this is becoming a problem with other titles as well. Despite my enjoyment of this title, it is a hard recommendation with these poor production values.

Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C-
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Released By: DrMaster
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 208
ISBN: 1-59796-026-8
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left